On 25th February, 1995, Gerald McClellan suffered severe brain damage after being defeated by Nigel Benn in a world title boxing match. This book tells the story of the two fighters and also attempts to unravel the glamour of violence.
Violence, both justified and random, subverted or given free expression, is part of the human condition - it simultaneously fascinates and repels us. Rarely can this have been more apparent than on 25 February, 1995, when Gerald McClellan fought Nigel Benn in the London Arena. At the pre-fight press conference McClellan said "boxing is war - it's a fight to the death" and there was an unusual tension around the meeting of these two men that wasn't simply generated by hype. Nigel Benn came to the ring as underdog and local boy. He was a better than average English boxer with a brutal reputation but his career was coming to an end. American-born Gerald McClellan however was on his way to becoming a boxing legend. He was a viscous, mean boxer by any standards. Ostensibly, they were fighting for a world title and a lot of money, the stuff of professional boxing. But this fight was different. It was a rare collision of wills, and few present had seen anything like it. The fight was finally stopped after ten gruelling rounds; the firecely jingoistic crowd relishing the American's surprise defeat. But then, McClellan didn't get up. He was unconscious, a doctor came, an ambulance was called. Gerald McClellan had suffered severe brain damage, and is now blind and half deaf and living in impoverished solitude in the small American town where he grew up. This is the story of these two men. It is a story too about those associated with the promotion of public fist-fighting, who bend morality to suit their needs and who never run short of willing agents, either in the gym or at the turnstiles. It is a story that attempts to unravel the glamour of violence.
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Kevin Mitchell has written for the Observer for many years. He lives in London
War, Baby by Kevin Mitchell
Used - Very Good
Short-listed for William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2001
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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